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The boys are back in Toon

COLERAINE has long enjoyed a strong relationship with players from the Ballymoney area…

By: Michael Anderson

On Tuesday night, four of those former players were special guests of the club for the Carrick Rangers game.

Ricky Wade, Joe Patton, Billy McCurdy and Ronnie McDowell watched on as the Bannsiders edged a close encounter thanks to Matthew Shevlin’s penalty.

And former defender McDowell was full of praise for the club where he made over 350 appearances.

Ronnie was given his debut by manager Victor Hunter on August 19,1978 in a 5-2 Ulster Cup win over Bangor.

His last outing was February 25, 1989, as Jim Platt’s side beat Newry Town 3-2 in a league fixture.

One of the best right-back’s in the Irish League, Ronnie – who scored 17 times –  thoroughly enjoyed meeting up with former team mates and friends in midweek.

“It’s a fantastic initiative inviting ex players back,” said Ronnie.

“The hospitality and way we were treated was superb.

“The whole set up is so much more professional than in my day.

“The club has done a great job and the 1927 lounge is excellent. ”

Ronnie follows Coleraine’s fortunes closely but admits his visits to Ballycastle Road have been infrequent.

That might be about to change after Tuesday!

“It was just never the same for me after I stopped playing. I just didn’t get the same enjoyment from watching.

“Don’t get me wrong. I have always followed what’s going on but I’ll definitely be back soon.”

And thankfully the Bannsiders delivered three valuable points to round off a great night.

“It was a very cagey game,” added Ronnie.

“Carrick were happy to defend and try and grab a goal on the break.

“Coleraine had the majority of possession but couldn’t break them down until the penalty.

“It was a great three points in the circumstances and keeps them in the chasing pack.”